Catherine McKenna
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre
Together Apart: COVID-19 Update #24

Le français suit l'anglais


February 13, 2021

Dear Residents,

I hope you are staying safe, healthy, and positive during this time.

It has been so encouraging to see the progress in staff and residents being vaccinated in long term care, as well as many essential workers across Ottawa.   

Vaccines continue to be our priority as a government, and the Prime Minister has been clear about vaccines being available for all Canadians who wish to be vaccinated, by September of this year. 

New travel restrictions are key in further protecting Canadians and ensuring we are preventing new cases of COVID-19, including the new variants, from coming into Canada. 

I have a few exciting updates from this past week, including two major infrastructure announcements, more details on new federal government programs and a reminder that the pre-budget consultations are open until February 19, 2021. We look forward to hearing from you!

I can't stress enough how important it is to take care of your mental health. Find ways to stay active, connect with loved ones virtually and seek support if you need it. Daily walks and skiing on the SJAM trail have really helped me when I found days to be difficult. I encourage all of you to do the same, safely.

I know it's been tough, but there is a hopeful future ahead. Let's keep supporting each other through this!





In the News




Federal Government Updates 


Vaccine updates

We are working hard to ensure that free and safe vaccines reach all Canadians who want one by September. To date, we have distributed more than 1.2 million vaccines to the provinces and territories, with more on the way.

We are ensuring that Canadians will have access to vaccines as quickly as possible, while advancing our long-term delivery schedules to immunize more Canadians earlier. 

With Pfizer and Moderna doses alone, Canada is on track to receive 84 million vaccines before the end of September. 

Learn more about our vaccine rollout here.



Testing Requirements at Airports

Since March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has strongly advised against non-essential travel and we put in place among the strictest rules around the world for international travellers.

As of February 22, there will be mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. At an expense of up to $2,000, travellers will have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their results.

As of Monday, non-essential travellers will be required to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US.

Everyone has a role to play to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and our number one priority will always be to ensure the safety of Canadians.

We want to remind Canadians that travel restrictions and measures can be amended as necessary and on short notice. We will never hesitate to take action to protect the safety of Canadians.


More info here


New Public Transit Investments 


This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and I made a very exciting announcement to invest in permanent, long-term funding for public transit. This is an exciting step for the future of our communities. 

We will be investing $14.9 billion into public transit projects over the next eight years, which includes permanent funding of $3 billion per year for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-2027.


Public transit is critical. It's critical for essential workers, for people going to work, and kids going to school and to reopen our economy.

We're investing in modern & sustainable public transit, to reduce congestion, create jobs, and support cleaner, more inclusive communities while getting Canadians around faster, cheaper, cleaner as we move to a more sustainable and net zero future for our kids.


Learn more here

Canada Healthy Communities Initiative



Another very exciting announcement I made with PS Andy Fillmore this week was the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative! This initiative will provide funding to a broad range of organizations, including local governments, charities, Indigenous communities, and non-profits.

This program is administered through the Community Foundations of Canada and will be open for applications until March 9, 2021. 

We know that public spaces are the glue to our communities and we want to hear your ideas on how we can better improve the quality of life in your community during COVID and beyond. From pop-up bike paths, outdoor art installations or WiFi hubs. The Healthy Communities Initiative will help Canadians enjoy safer, more vibrant and inclusive communities.

I encourage all local Ottawa Centre organizations to reach out to my office if you have any questions on this program.   


Click here for more information and here to apply.




Pre-budget Consultations

It is time to submit your priorities for this year's pre-budget consultations!

This is an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can best invest to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and build a greener, more competitive, more inclusive, and more resilient economy.

We are looking forward to hearing from you! We have said very clearly from the beginning of the pandemic that we will do whatever it takes to support Canadians, and we will continue to look for ways to do that through this upcoming budget.

Join the conversation by taking our questionnaire, or uploading a formal submission. We are also accepting submissions, letters and papers by mail until February 19, 2021. 

I also encourage you to reply to this newsletter with your priorities, let me know what's important to you!

Learn more here.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)

The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to provide much needed relief to hardest-hit businesses and support to workers and their families. 

HASCAP is open to all businesses across the country, in all sectors, that have been hit hard by the pandemic. This includes but is not limited to tourism, restaurants, and other sectors that rely on in-person service.

Learn more here.



Safe Return to Class Fund


This school year has been especially difficult on students. They are being asked to learn in new ways, teachers are adapting their teaching styles, and parents are finding ways to keep their children engaged with their schoolwork while they may be working from home. Our government is committed to supporting and protecting students and staff from the challenges of COVID-19.

That is why we announced the second instalment of the Safe Return to Class Fund. This investment will go towards supporting adapted learning spaces and remote learning, improving air ventilation, increasing hand sanitation and hygiene, purchasing personal protective equipment, and cleaning supplies, and providing health and safety training for staff.


Learn more here




Celebrating Black History Month 

Picture taken January, 2020 


Every February, Canadians are invited to honour the legacy and achievements of Black communities in Canada. So many Black Canadians have helped shape our country. This is an opportunity to celebrate their contributions and legacy. Join us in amplifying Black voices in our community. 

It is also a time to learn more about the systemic barriers and inequalities facing Black communities and many visible minorities to this day. Our government has pledged to address anti-Black and systemic racism and committed to do so in a way that is informed by the lived experiences of Black communities. We will continue to work towards a fairer, more inclusive future for all in Canada.






Local Updates 

A Little Hope Campaign 


I wanted to share with you a new and important initiative called A Little Hope. Recent outbreaks in Ottawa shelters have made things even harder for our most vulnerable. My good friend Bruce Anderson from Spark Advocacy, partnered with Shepherds of Good Hope, and several local restaurants to start a campaign that provides meals for those who need it most. Every $10 donation will feed someone in need a warm meal and spread #ALittleHope.

Help me in spreading the word on this amazing campaign and please donate if you have the means! 


Click here to donate today.  


Cornerstone Housing for Women


This month, I was so pleased to speak with Cornerstone Housing for Women's Executive Director Sarah Davis and heard about the incredible work they are doing. I know it's been incredibly hard with recent outbreaks in Ottawa shelters. Thank you so much for all that you do to meet the needs of vulnerable women in our community.

To help support Cornerstone and women recovering from homelessness, join me in walking virtually for the Coldest Night of the Year.

Learn more here.

Download the COVID-19 Alert App

Stop what you're doing and take one minute to download the COVID Alert app! This app notifies users of possible exposure to people who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

It is free, voluntary, and uses strong measures to protect your data. Users who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key from their health authority that they can enter into the app. Read more here.


Community Resources 


Groceries & Meals 

Visit or call the Community Information Centre of Ottawa at 2-1-1 for information on how to access food.

Respite Centre for Ottawa's Homeless

Free washrooms and showers are open at Tom Brown Arena, 141 Bayview Station Rd.  

Kids Help Phone

Kids needing help or to talk to someone about what they are going through can text or call the Kids Help Line, 24/7:

Text: CONNECT to 686868

Call: 1-800-668-6868

A Friendly Voice for Seniors 

A Friendly Voice is here to talk 8:00 am - 12:00 am at 613-692-9992. Calling is FREE.



The Distress Centre of Ottawa 

If these unsettling times are affecting your mental health, please know that it's completely OK to ask for help. The Distress Centre of Ottawa is there for you 24/7 at 613-238-3311

If You Feel Unsafe at Home

If you are dealing with physical, emotional, sexual, or other kinds of abuse at home text 613-704-5535 or chat online at This service is available 7 days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to midnight. 

COVID-19 Information and Updates   


Ottawa Public Health: 



Any Ottawa resident who is showing one or more symptoms of COVID-19,  can go for testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or the COVID-19 Care Clinics


Ottawa Public Health's dynamic format for reporting on COVID19 in Ottawa is now available. Data is updated daily and more in-depth reports will be shared weekly.


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC):


How risky is it to get a haircut or go to the gym? PHAC has set up a new tool for Canadians to gauge the risk levels of their plans outside the home.


The Government of Canada Novel Coronavirus website.


Canada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard.


PHAC Detailed Epidemiological Summary of COVID-19 in Canada report.

Stay in Touch Ottawa Centre 

My Constituency Office is virtually open and ready to support and serve you. 


Phone: 613-946-8682

Email[email protected]


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